By Mark Jarratt, Director, Civil Liberties Australia
In the excruciating period leading to the 2019 federal election, within a day of Parliament reconvening for the year, politicians were again indulging in fear mongering, with the usual targets of “boat people” and the never-ending war on terrorism.
Most asylum seekers, at a ratio of about 3 to 1 (it varies), arrive on commercial airline flights. Not a word about “air people” – though that’s how the childlike Asian sex workers, or the slaves serving food in restaurants, or back-packers bent on overstaying for good, or even au pairs all travel to Australia.
Both major parties were oddly silent on vital issues like the financial sector regulation failures identified by the Hayne Royal Commission. With supposed corporate and fiscal regulators succumbing to Stockholm Syndrome (becoming captured like the criminals they should be policing), politicians would have had to commit to sustained analysis and effort to fix those massive problems.
Fear-mongering is quicker, slicker, easier, and cheaper. The mainstream media aids and abets the politicians’ authoritarian descent into a neo-fascist state.
Immediate recourse to alarm over borders and terrorism questions the health of the Australian body politic, whether the LNP coalition or the ALP triumph in 2019.
A practical example of how far the Australian nation has tumbled down the path to a fascist state, and away from a healthy democracy, is the ever-expanding crusade against smoking and smokers.
Most Australians believe tobacco controls are based on health concerns, but that’s not so. The entrenched anti-tobacco mentality has little or nothing to do with public health. If public health drove policy, smoking would be completely banned and governments would happily give up the billions in revenue extorted from smokers.
Health and morals partly drive the relentless anti-tobacco crusade, but a major foundation is the widely spreading resurgence of fascist ideology.
Fascist thought makes a resurgence
Government hyper regulation, punitive and extortionate taxation and other “public health initiatives” to persecute and stigmatise smokers are nothing new. Russia used to whip smokers; Turkey beheaded them; India slit their noses.
Two anti-tobacco crusades, very similar to the fervid programs of today’s Australia and the western world, took place within the 20th century. Both immediately preceded world wars. The first, in the USA, directly preceded World War One. The second, prosecuted by the Nazis, directly preceded World War Two. This may be coincidence, but it’s unsettling to realise it may not be.
The root cause of each pre-war crusade was a sharp rise in ideological materialism, a philosophy which generates social tension, removes tolerance, and dispenses with courtesy and civility. Grave danger to democracy emerges when the prevailing government mentality is to control every aspect of daily life and empower militant, authoritarian paternalism.
That mentality gives open slather to eugenics movements, campaigns of thought control, discriminatory social engineering, and legislated behaviour modification. The prohibitionist tobacco control playbook is now the bully template against personal freedoms. Rabid attacks are being launched against other personal choices: types of food, alcohol, gambling, greyhound racing…whatever is the next new target of tax-and-ban wowsers.
Wowsers rule, OK?
Wowsers are people who want to control your thoughts and actions, though they claim: “We Only Want Social Evils Remedied”. Many people believe the wowser “thought police” are a greater threat to society than whatever ill the wowsers currently target for shutdown.
Bans on smoking in public spaces and making smokers by force of law consume their entirely legal, highly taxed product in corralled smoking ghettoes is pure fascism. Public smoking ban bigots support fascist ideals and are anti-freedom.
The bans and laws make ordinary Australians give up their personal freedoms to conform with the desires of a minority. The shrill minority has trumped its way into imposing their personal preferences on the rest of society by prohibitionist propaganda and outright lies. Anti-freedom collectivism is the foundation of fascist doctrine.
Australians who fought in the world wars volunteered to fight fascism and eradicate it. They bravely did this for themselves, and selflessly for following generations. Now, as fascist social control ideology permeates parliaments, it is necessary for more objective critical thinking and less acceptance of propaganda and lies.
Fighting for freedom takes different forms over time. People who now support freedom and democracy must continue the fight previous generations began, although through different tools.
The issue is not being a smoker or a non-smoker: fascist thought and action is a much greater danger to an open society than smoking is to another person’s health.
To paraphrase the classic Pastor Martin Niemöller poem from the Nazi era on persecution, guilt, and responsibility “First they came for the smokers…”. Once a nation allows fascism to dominate in one area of society, it will expand until it is stopped.
As the Niemöller poem indicates, today the fascists might be targeting a freedom someone else enjoys; eventually the target will be a freedom you enjoy.
In the protracted politician speak leading to the 2019 federal election, Australian citizens should remain mindful of these observations:
- Anti-smoking legislation is evidence of an authoritarian society. Lifestyle control and coercive paternalism appease the whims of fanatics who hold positions of influence. In a free economy, demand dictates supply. Smoking bans and restrictions are only in place because there is currently not enough demand for smoke-free establishments to appease those who claim they speak for all society. The will of a few is being forced on the many.
- The anti-smoking crusade is portrayed as a public health issue but is driven by selfish bullies legally forcing others to give up freedom of choice. If smoking ends, the same people will campaign to control the next intolerance on their personal hit list.
- Most militant anti-smokers engage in destructive behaviour that other people might think is very anti-social: eating “junk” food; swigging soft drinks; driving cars with blue smoke pouring from the exhaust; sitting for hours in front of screens being doused in electro-magnetic radiation; talking on mobile phones and beaming radiation directly into their skulls…and possibly into the skulls of people nearby.
Do not meekly descend into the increasing darkness of fascism. Express your own personal views, do your part, raise awareness of personal freedoms, and fight for the right to freely choose.
As a contributing member of civil society, wake people up and let them know what is at stake. The greatest ally of fascist ideology is apathy, as others ramp up their bullying.
(Thanks and appreciation to Mr Derek Audette, contributor to Think Magazine – think.cz for inspiring this article).